Noreen

heading off to tour through South America for 3 months, hoping to hit most of the main hot spots and a bit of detouring off the beaten track along the way!

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Noreen
Noreen Hey Charlene - you still planning on going around South America? I'm heading that way too ... (Galapagos Islands > Peru > Bolivia > Brazil > Argentina)
Charlene
Charlene Hey, Yes I am, although I haven't booked anything yet. When are you going? I'd love to go to the Galapagos Islands, but it's so expensive. Who are you going there with? Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia were my priorities. The rest will depend on my funds
3 years ago
Noreen
Noreen I'm looking to head out on 30th Dec and return Eastertime. I know the GI are expensive, but think while I'm there ... Looking to travel most of it on my own - hoping friends will come out and visit while at GI and Brazil but will see! My main priorities are GI, Peru and Aregentina. For Peru - will be looking at doing Inca trail, Nazca and lake titicaca. And will probably start looking into booking the inca trail trek in the next month or so
3 years ago
Charlene
Charlene Just before New Years? I was probably going to leave in January some time. What tour company will yo do the islands and inca trail with? I want to do the inca trail definitely. Why do you want to do it alone? The reason I signed up on here was to find someone to travel with. Where will you go first?
3 years ago
Noreen
Noreen Well dates arent really decided upon so will see (depends if friends are up for going out to GI with me re NYE) Don't know what tour company will go with yet, still looking into them really - have you seen any good ones? No, I didn't mean it like that - I don't want to do it on my own, its more about meeting up with others along the way than anything :) I'm going to look to fly to GI first and then head down to Peru.
3 years ago
Charlene
Charlene Quite an expensive trip for your mates to pay out for. Wish my mates wanted to travel. I haven't looked into it properly but all the ones I have seen are pretty expensive. Will you not bother seeing any of Ecuador then? Let me know if you find a cheap way of going to the islands. You do know that the Inca Trail is closed in February right?
3 years ago
Todd
Todd Hey there, just a quick tip about the Inca Trail, it's important to book many months in advance. We had to do an alternative route because we didn't have advance notice. It was still nice and very challenging, but not the classic Inca.
3 years ago
Charlene
Charlene yes I know this Todd. A bit of a pain isn't it. Thanks
3 years ago
Charlene
Charlene hey Noreen, Alison says you're doing the inca trail the last week of Jan. Which tour company and what date are you going?
3 years ago
Charlene
Charlene are are you still heading to the GI on Dec 30th?
3 years ago
Noreen
Noreen Hey Charlene - Yes Im doing the trail on the 20th Jan with Peru Treks, not going till 6th Jan to the GI's now, managed to get an 8 day cruise :) Hows your plans coming along?
3 years ago
Charlene
Charlene oh cool. that's the company i told you about isn't it? which company r u going to the GI with? will the inca trail b the first thing u do then and what u doing after the islands? so many questions! i've still got nothing definite because i'm waiting for some news here first. will know in 2 weeks
3 years ago
Noreen
Noreen I'm going to do the GI first and then head down to Peru after that to do the Inca trail. Booked GI through Happy Gringo
3 years ago
Charlene
Charlene yep sorry. How much did you pay for the GI tour? was that company recommended to you?
3 years ago
Noreen
Noreen i ended up paying $1800 USD which while still expensive is a lot less than some agents were charging me. Guess it would always be cheaper to book a tour while in Quito ... I the company was recommended on travbuddy website, seems a lot of people rated it. You need to contact them to see what boats are available.
3 years ago
Charlene
Charlene ok thanks for letting me know. I still don't know what I'm going to do yet but will hopefully be able to make a decision next week. I might wait until I arrive there and then book i if I do go
3 years ago
fijiaaron
fijiaaron If you see more of Ecuador than the Galapagos, I know some good places to eat. Steaks, Humitas, Locro de Papas, y Pizza
Noreen
Noreen Sounds amazing! I'm going to be in Quito for New Years Eve for a few days so if you have any tips that would be awesome!
3 years ago
fijiaaron

fijiaaron Well, there's a Brazilian steak house in Quito that's pretty good. It's somewhere between 10 de Agusto & Av. Amazones -- you walk down La Gasca and then -- ok, I don't know Quito.

There are a ton of international restaurants (including good Mongolian Grill) down by Los Alpes & I guess it's the old US Embassy. Find the McDonalds on Av. 6 de Deciembre and head east. A lot of language schools are in that area so if you're looking for the young hip international scene that's the place to be.

It turns out I don't really know Quito. I'm used to finding my way on foot and Google Maps is confusing me.

But in Cuenca, Ah!

El Mais has great food. Get the Locro de Papas (potato soup with Avacado) and laugh at their English translations on the menu (e.g. "To the fresh species"). You have to ask for mote but it's a great appetizer and their Aji is excellent. It's a big yellow house on the Calle Larga and run by a family. Nice older lady, a quiet formal younger waiter. I hear their cuy is good too.

El Jarin & El Jordan are two restaurants side by side on Calle Larga too with a sort of Mediterrenean twist. Great formal places with affordable, excellent steaks and a great view.

Everything else on Calle Larga is expat fare and overpriced drinks though. But if you're looking for the "scene" that's where it is in Cuenca.

La Parillada is an excellent Ecuadorian style grill in the newer downtown section.

3 years ago
fijiaaron
fijiaaron correction: El Jardin & El Jordan
3 years ago
fijiaaron
fijiaaron I can't forget to mention La Fornace. It's a fast food pizza place in Cuenca with 2 locations but it's fantastic.
3 years ago
Noreen
Noreen Thanks for the recommendations, they sound amazing! Can't wait to get out there now! Cheers!
3 years ago
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Noreen

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